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Supporters of the 9/11 Truth movement at a Los Angeles demonstration, October 2007

9/11 Truth movement is the collective name of loosely affiliated organizations and individuals who question the mainstream account of the September 11, 2001 attacks.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] Adherents of the movement discuss different hypotheses about how the attacks happened and call for a new investigation into the attacks.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14]

Some of the organizations state that there is evidence that individuals within the United States government may have been either responsible for or knowingly complicit in the September 11 attacks. Motives given include the use of the attacks to initiate the launch of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in creating the opportunities to curtail civil liberties.[2] Members of the movement are often referred to as "truthers",[15] "conspiracy theorists",[1][16][17] occasionally as "9/11 deniers",[18][19] and by sympathetic writers as "9/11 skeptics."[20][21] Members of the movement hold diverse views on other political issues.

Contents

Characteristics

Name

"9/11 Truth movement" is the collective name of loosely affiliated[15][18] organizations and individuals that question whether the United States government, agencies of the United States or individuals within such agencies were either responsible for or purposefully complicit in the September 11 attacks.[3][4][5][6][7][22][23][24] The term is also being used by the adherents of the movement.[25][26] Adherents also call themselves "9/11 Truthers",[27] "9/11 skeptics"[28] or "truth activists",[29] while generally rejecting the term "conspiracy theorists".[15][29]

Adherents

Adherents of the 9/11 Truth movement come from diverse social backgrounds.[1][26][29] The movement draws adherents from people of diverse political beliefs including liberals, conservatives, and libertarians.[3][23][29]

Prominent adherents of the movement include, among others, theologian David Ray Griffin, physicist Steven E. Jones, software engineer Jim Hoffman, architect Richard Gage, film producer Dylan Avery, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives Cynthia McKinney,[30] actors Daniel Sunjata, Ed Asner, and Charlie Sheen, political science professor Joseph Diaferia and journalists Thierry Meyssan and Robert Fisk.[4][18][28][31][32]

According to Lev Grossman of TIME magazine, support for the 9/11 Truth movement is not a "fringe phenomenon", but "a mainstream political reality".[25] Mark Fenster, a University of Florida law professor and author of the book Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture, says that "the amount of organisation" of the movement is significantly stronger than the organization of the movement related to doubts about the official account of the assassination of former United States President John F. Kennedy[3], though this is likely the result of new media technologies, such as online social networks, blogs, etc.

The 9/11 Truth movement is active both in the United States as well as in other countries.[14]

Views

Many adherents of the 9/11 Truth movement suspect that United States government insiders played a part in the attacks, or at the very least knew they were coming and let them occur anyway.[28]

Those within the movement who argue that insiders within the United States government were directly responsible for the September 11 attacks often allege that the attacks were planned and executed in order to provide the U.S. with a pretext for going to war in the Middle East and, by extension, as a means of consolidating and extending the power of the Bush Administration.[25][26] According to these allegations, this would have given the Bush administration the justification to clamp down on civil liberties and invade Afghanistan and Iraq to ensure future supplies of oil.[28] In some cases, hawks in the White House, especially former Vice President Dick Cheney, and members of the Project for the New American Century, a neoconservative think tank, have been accused of involvement in or awareness of the alleged plot.[16][33][34]

Many adherents of the 9/11 Truth movement allege that the buildings of the World Trade Center have been destroyed by controlled demolition, a theory of major importance for the 9/11 Truth movement.[1][23][35]

Communication

The Internet plays a large role both in the communication between adherents and between local groups of the 9/11 Truth movement and in the dissemination of the views of the movement to the public at large.[2][3][6][25][33]

History

Both before and after the 9/11 Commission Report, there were skeptics of the official account published. Among others, Michael Ruppert[36] and Canadian journalist Barrie Zwicker,[37] published criticisms or pointed out purported anomalies of the mainstream account of the attacks. French author Jean-Charles Brisard[38] and German authors Mathias Bröckers[39] and Andreas von Bülow[40] published books critical of media reporting and advancing the controlled demolition thesis of the destruction of the World Trade Center towers.

In September 2002, the first "Bush Did It!" rallies and marches were held in San Francisco and Oakland, California organized by The All People's Coalition.[41]

In October 2004, the organization 9/11 Truth released a statement, signed by nearly 200 people, including many relatives of people who perished on September 11, 2001, that calls for an investigation into the attacks. It also asserted that unanswered questions would suggest that people within the administration of former President G. W. Bush may have deliberately allowed the attacks to happen. Actor Edward Asner, former presidential candidate Ralph Nader, former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, former assistant secretary of housing Catherine Austin Fitts, author Richard Heinberg, Enver Masud, founder of The Wisdom Fund, professors Richard Falk of the University of California, Mark Crispin Miller of New York University, Douglas Sturm of Bucknell University, Burns H. Weston of the Iowa Law School and others signed the statement. In 2009, Van Jones, a former advisor to President Obama, said he hadn't fully reviewed the statement before he signed and that the petition did not reflect his views "now or ever."[42][43][44]

In 2006, Steven E. Jones, who became a leading academic voice of the demolition theory,[2] published the paper "Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Completely Collapse?".[45] He was placed on paid leave by Brigham Young University following what they described as Jones's "increasingly speculative and accusatory" statements in September, 2006, pending a review of his statements and research. Six weeks later, Jones retired from the university.[46]

In the same year, 61 legislators in the U.S. State of Wisconsin signed a petition calling for the dismissal of a University of Wisconsin assistant professor Kevin Barrett, after he joined the group Scholars for 9/11 Truth. Citing academic freedom, the university provost declined to take action against Barrett.[47][48][49]

Several organizations of family members of people who have died in the attacks are calling for an independent investigation into the attacks.[50] In 2009, a group of people, including 9/11 Truth movement activist Lorie Van Auken and others who have lost friends or relatives in the attack, appealed to the City of New York to investigate the disaster. The organization New York City Coalition for Accountability Now is collecting signatures to require the New York City Council to place the creation of an investigating commission on the November 2009 election ballot.[51]

9/11 Commission Report reaction

To the consternation of the families and adherents of the 9/11 Truth movement, many of the questions that the 9/11 Family Steering Committee put to the 9/11 Commission, chaired by former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, were not asked in either the hearings or in the Commission Report.[52] Lorie Van Auken, one of the Jersey Girls, estimates that only 30% of their questions were answered in the final 9/11 Commission Report, published July 22, 2004. The story of the Families Movement and their monitoring of the commission is documented in the film 9/11: Press for Truth (2006).[citation needed]

The 9/11 Family Steering Committee produced a website summarizing the questions they had raised to the Commission, indicating which they believe had been answered satisfactorily, which they believe had been addressed but not answered satisfactorily, and which they believe had been generally ignored in or omitted from the Report.[53]

In addition, the 339-page book The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions by David Ray Griffin, claimed that the report had either omitted information or distorted the truth, providing 115 alleged examples.[54][55][56] He has characterized the 9/11 Commission Report as "a 571-page lie".[57]

On May 26, 2008 college professor Blair Gadsby began a protest and a hunger strike outside the offices of Senator and Republican Party Nominee for President John McCain's office demanding to see McCain. Arizona Republican State Senator Karen Johnson joined the protest in support. On June 10 Johnson with Gadsby as her guest and other 9/11 Truth movement members in the audience spoke before the Arizona State Senate espousing the controlled demolition theory and supporting a reopening of the 9/11 investigation.[13][58] In response to a question, McCain, who wrote the foreword to a book published by the magazine Popular Mechanics, that aims at debunking the theories, said he did not meet Gadsby, adding: "Because I don't take well to threats."[59]

NIST Report reaction

Iron-rich sphere, found in the dust of the World Trade Center, as documented by the United States Geological Survey. According to Steven Jones, NIST did not look for evidence of explosive residue.[60]

Following the initial government investigation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Report (May 2002) NIST Report, numerous responses were written by members of the 9/11 Truth movement. Many of these responses claimed that it ignored key evidence suggesting an explosive demolition, "distorted reality" by using deceptive language and diagrams, and attacked straw man arguments, such as the 2005 article by Jim Hoffman entitled, Building a better mirage: NIST's 3-year $20,000,000 Cover Up of the Crime of the Century.[61]

In the fall of 2005, Steven Jones, a professor at Brigham Young University at the time, announced a paper criticizing the NIST Report and describing his hypothesis that the WTC towers had been intentionally demolished by explosives. This paper garnered some mainstream media attention, including an appearance by Jones on MSNBC. This was the first such programming on a major cable news station. As of September 2009, Jones had not published his research in peer-reviewed mainstream journals. Jones was criticized by his university for making his claims public before vetting them through the approved peer review process. He was placed on paid leave and has since retired.[46][62][63] He continues to remain a focus of public interest for his 9/11 research.

Accordingly, in April 2007, some 9/11 victims' family members and some members of the new Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice submitted an additional request for correction to NIST, containing their own views on the defects in the report.[64] NIST responded to this request in September 2007 supporting their original conclusions;[65] the originators of the request wrote back to them in October 2007, asking them to reconsider their response.

Criticism

In 2006, a book critic with Time magazine noted that a major problem with films such as Loose Change and most 9/11 conspiracy theories in general is that "the more one thinks about them, the more one realizes how much they depend on circumstantial evidence, facts without analysis, quotes taken out of context, and the scattered testimony of traumatized eyewitnesses".[66] Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone assessed that the movement "gives supporters of Bush an excuse to dismiss critics of this administration" and expressed concerns about the number of people who believe in 9/11 conspiracy theories.[67]

Noam Chomsky stated that, regarding US government involvement in the 9/11 attacks, "the evidence that has been produced is essentially worthless" and while the American government stood to benefit from the incident, "every authoritarian system in the world gained from September 11th." He argues that the enormous risk of an information leak, "it is a very porous system and secrets are very hard to keep", and consequences of exposure for the Republican party would have made such a conspiracy foolish to attempt. He dismisses observations cited by conspiracy proponents saying, "if you look at the evidence, anybody who knows anything about the sciences would instantly discount that evidence," arguing that even when a scientific experiment is carried out repeatedly in a controlled environment, phenomena and coincidences remain that are unexplained.[68]

MIT engineering professor Thomas W. Eagar was at first unwilling to acknowledge the concerns of the movement, saying "if (the argument) gets too mainstream, I'll engage in the debate." In response to Steven E. Jones publishing a hypothesis that the World Trade Center was destroyed by controlled demolition, Eager said that adherents of the 9/11 Truth movement would use the reverse scientific method to arrive at their conclusions, as they "determine what happened, throw out all the data that doesn't fit their conclusion, and then hail their findings as the only possible conclusion.[69]

Former President Bill Clinton dismissed 9/11 conspiracy theories saying "Nine-eleven was NOT an inside job, it was an Osama Bin Laden job with 19 people from Saudi Arabia, they murdered 3000 Americans and others foreigners including Muslims" [70]

A 2008 study by Cass R. Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule found that theories supported by 9/11 truth movement members "typically spread as a result of identifiable cognitive blunders, operating in conjunction with informational and reputational influences. A distinctive feature of conspiracy theories is their self-sealing quality. Conspiracy theorists are not likely to be persuaded by an attempt to dispel their theories; they may even characterize that very attempt as further proof of the conspiracy...those who hold conspiracy theories typically suffer from a crippled epistemology..."[71]

Organizations

Since the publication of the official reports, a number of interconnected 9/11 Truth movement organizations have been formed.

Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth

Two people holding a banner of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth is an organization of architectural and engineering professionals[72] who advocate September 11 conspiracy theories and are calling for a new investigation into the cause of the destruction of the Twin Towers and 7 WTC.[9][73] The group is collecting signatures for a petition to the United States Congress that demands "a truly independent investigation with subpoena power" of the September 11 attacks, which, according to the organization, should include an inquiry into the possible use of explosives in the destruction of the World Trade Center buildings.[74][75] Richard Gage, a San Francisco Bay area based architect,[76] founded Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth in 2006.[2][77]

Investigations by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) have concluded that the buildings collapsed as a result of the impacts of the planes and of the fires that resulted from them.[45][78] Gage criticized the government agency NIST for not having investigated the complete sequence of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers[79] and claims that "the official explanation of the total destruction of the World Trade Center skyscrapers has explicitly failed to address the massive evidence for explosive demolition."[80] To support its position, the group Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth points to the "free fall" pace of the collapse of the buildings, the "lateral ejection of steel", and to the "mid-air pulverization of concrete".[72]

9/11 Truth

This organization was launched in June 2004 and has become the central portal for all the 9/11 Truth movement organizations. It is run by Janice Matthews (Executive Director),[81][82] David Kubiak (International Campaign Advisor)[83] and Mike Berger (Media Coordinator),[84] among others, and its advisory board includes Steven E. Jones, Barrie Zwicker and Faiz Khan.[85]

The organization co-sponsored opinion polls conducted by the U.S. market research and opinion polling firm Zogby International that have shown substantial numbers of people believing the government did not tell the full truth about the September 11 attacks. Of the people surveyed, those in lower education and income brackets were more likely to express disbelief in government accounts, rather than those in higher income/education brackets.[86][87]

Scholars for 9/11 Truth

The original Scholars for 9/11 Truth, founded by James H. Fetzer and Steven Jones on December 15, 2005, was a group of individuals of varying backgrounds and expertise who rejected the mainstream media and government account of the September 11 attacks.[3][88]

Initially the group invited many ideas and hypotheses to be considered, however, leading members soon came to feel that the inclusion of some theories advocated by Fetzer—such as the use of directed energy weapons or small nuclear bombs to destroy the Twin Towers—were insufficiently supported by evidence and were exposing the group to ridicule. By December 2006, Jones and several others set up a new scholars group titled Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice, whose focus was in the use of the scientific method in analysis.[89] The original members took a vote on which group to join and the majority voted to move to the new group.[90] By 2007, James Fetzer had been openly rejected by the 9/11 Truth Movement, banned from and criticized on popular forums[91][92][93][94] and no longer invited to public 9/11 events.

Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Justice

Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Justice (STJ) formed in January 2007 and is "a group of scholars and supporters endeavoring to address the unanswered questions of the September 11, 2001 attack" with a focus on scientific research. The group is composed of more than 700 members,[95] including Richard Gage, Steven E. Jones, Jim Hoffman, David Ray Griffin, Peter Phillips, former Congressman Daniel Hamburg, and Kevin Ryan. Most members support the theory that the World Trade Center Towers were destroyed through explosive demolition.

In 2008 and 2009, several Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Justice members published essays in science and engineering journals. In April 2008, a letter by members Steven E. Jones, Frank Legge, Kevin Ryan, Anthony Szamboti and James Gourley, was published in The Open Civil Engineering Journal.[96] In July 2008, an article by Ryan, Gourley and Jones was published in the Environmentalist.[97] In October 2008, an essay describing what the author considers fundamental errors in a Bažant and Verdure paper was published in the Journal of Engineering Mechanics by member James R. Gourley.[98] And in April 2009, as reported by major Danish newspapers,[99] Danish chemist and STJ member Niels H. Harrit, of the University of Copenhagen, and eight other authors, some also STJ members, published a paper in The Open Chemical Physics Journal, titled, 'Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe'.[100] The paper concludes that chips consisting of unreacted and partially reacted super-thermite, or nano-thermite, are present in the samples of the dust.

9/11 CitizensWatch

The group was formed in 2002 by John Judge and Kyle Hence and, along with the Family Steering Committee, played an active role in calling for the establishment of the 9/11 Commission, and monitoring the commission closely.[101]

William Rodriguez at American Scholars Symposium: 9/11 and the NeoCon Agenda in Los Angeles, California, June 24/5, 2006.

Hispanic Victims Group

The Hispanic Victims Group is a group created after the 9/11 attacks, founded by William Rodriguez,[102] an adherent of the 9/11 Truth movement. The group was one of the key forces behind the creation of the 9/11 Commission.[101] William Rodriguez, as founder of the group, was a member of the Families Advisory Council for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.[103]

Conferences

Members of the 9/11 truth organizations, such as the Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice, regularly hold meetings and conferences to discuss alternative theories about 9/11 and to strategize about how best to achieve their goals. Many of these conferences are organized by 911truth.org, and some have been covered by the international media.[104]

Internal critique

While there is general agreement within the movement that individuals within the United States government (but not necessarily the government as a whole) are responsible for the attacks, alternative theories differ about what may have happened.[3] There have been a number of articles and responses written by members critiquing the methods and theories of other members, often in a scholarly format, as in the Journal of 9/11 Studies.[105][citation needed]

While Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice states that they advocate the use of the scientific method and civil research activities over public debate,[106] Jim Fetzer's group, Scholars for 9/11 Truth, has said that the scientific method is unnecessary and that any imaginable theory is worthy of advocating to the public. For example, reporting on a conference involving Fetzer's group, a Madison Times article stated: "By Sunday the conference had covered weather control, weapons from space, and the idea that the planes that struck the towers never existed at all."[107]

Major media

Books

A prominent author of the 9/11 Truth movement literature is theologian David Ray Griffin. His two books, The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 (March 2004), which claimed to outline a methodical, deductive framework for researching 9/11, and The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (October 2004), became best-sellers.[108] His Debunking 9/11 Debunking (May 2007) looks at the way magazines such as Popular Mechanics have sought to debunk the alternative 9/11 theories.[citation needed] His most recent work, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the cover-up, and the exposé (2008), was written to update his original book, The New Pearl Harbor, reflecting information and insights from five major developments that have occurred since his original publication.[citation needed]

In September 2004, the interactive "Complete 9/11 Timeline" website by Paul Thompson, which is a collection of mainstream media reports presented chronologically, was made into the book The Terror Timeline.[109]

Michael Ruppert's Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil (October 2004) identified potential key insider suspects in the 9/11 attacks and provide an examination of their context: petroleum, geopolitics, narco-traffic, intelligence and militarism.[citation needed] Webster Tarpley's Synthetic Terror: Made in USA (2005) described a link between 9/11 and previous accusations of false flag state-sponsored terrorism such as Gladio or the Red Brigades.[citation needed]

Films

Films made by the 9/11 Truth movement include: Loose Change:Final Cut (2007) by Korey Rowe, Martial Law 9/11: Rise of the Police State (2005) by Alex Jones,[citation needed] 911 Mysteries: Demolitions (2006),[citation needed] The Great Conspiracy: The 9/11 News Special You Never Saw (2004) by Barrie Zwicker,[citation needed] and 9/11: Blueprint for Truth (2007) and updated 2008 Edition (2008) by Richard Gage.[citation needed]

These documentaries present a range of alternate theories about how the attacks might have been carried out.

9/11 Press for Truth (2006) documents the struggle by the Jersey Widows to open a full investigation of the events, and their frustration while monitoring the 9/11 Commission as part of the Family Steering Committee.

Alex Jones, 9/11 and New World Order conspiracy theorists are the subject of a documentary New World Order directed by Luke Meyer and Andrew Neel that debuted on the Independent Film Channel on May 26, 2009. The documentary, while not endorsing the movement, is described as giving the movement "more sympathetic, or less critical, airing than they've yet had (except among the converted)".[110][111]

9/11: Science and Conspiracy (2009), a documentary produced by National Geographic, examines both perspectives of the 9/11 conspiracy theorists including the issues of thermite, controlled demolition, and whether fires could have melted steel in the WTC. It also examines the plane vs missile controversy surrounding the Pentagon attack.[112]

See also

References

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  64. ^ Request for Correction
  65. ^ Communication re Information Quality Request #07-06
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  104. ^ Canada National Post: A theory that just won't die
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  107. ^ 9/11 doubters doubt each other, too by Ben Popper, Madison Times
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  110. ^ Doc Hangs with Conspiracy Theorists in New World Order Village Voice May 19, 2009
  111. ^ Movie Review New World Order (2009) The New York Times May 26, 2009
  112. ^ http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/episode/9-11-science-and-conspiracy-4067/conspiracy-vs-science

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